Case Study Background


AEI Revamps Event Management Process with FormAssembly’s Salesforce-Connected Forms

Meredith Meyers

Program Manager (Technology and Innovation Projects)

Case Study Snapshot

As an internationally recognized public policy think tank, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) has robust requirements when it comes to data collection, organization, and implementation. Although the organization previously relied on separate tech vendors and manual spreadsheet processes to keep track of important data, a migration to Salesforce paved the way for FormAssembly’s instrumental role at the organization. Now, staff members not only save time and effort, but FormAssembly has proven to be highly cost efficient, innovative, and capable of meeting the organization’s unique needs.

About American Enterprise Institute

The American Enterprise Institute is a public policy think tank dedicated to defending human dignity, expanding human potential, and building a freer and safer world. The work of qualified scholars and staff advances ideas rooted in a belief in democracy, free enterprise, American strength and global leadership, solidarity with those at the periphery of society, and a pluralistic, entrepreneurial culture.

The numbers


core public policy areas


resident, visiting, and adjunct AEI scholars


forms in use


responses collected in a given year

The Need

Replacing expensive and cumbersome data collection with a new form solution

Fundraising and events teams still had to rely on internal web developers for all new forms and logic changes

Seamless CRM integration

Staff members at AEI needed a better way to integrate online forms with the existing CRM. Prior to implementing Salesforce, the organization used Raiser’s Edge (RE) and had a vendor who built a custom integration between RE and the website just to manage event RSVPs.

Unfortunately, the integration only went in one direction, because forms couldn’t read data from RE. The institute had to keep this vendor on retainer for any changes needed to form logic; which was expensive, time-consuming, and never met full tech requirements or expectations. Another negative result was that many duplicate constituent records were created because of the one-way form communication.

Once AEI migrated to Salesforce, fundraising and events teams still had to rely on internal web developers for all new forms and logic changes. The turnaround time for new functionality was based on a developer’s resource availability and website code updates, which meant last-minute fixes or new forms for important initiatives simply couldn’t be implemented in time. Manual processes for managing these initiatives were still focused on email, spreadsheets, paper communication methods, and disconnected forms.

The Solution

Intuitive features make form creation and event management easy and straightforward

They clearly save many hours [and] seamlessly integrate with Salesforce…

FormAssembly leads the way forward

After reviewing several other solutions, Meredith and her team realized that no other product had the features that come natively with FormAssembly â€” at any price point. FormAssembly’s features meant that Salesforce system admins (as opposed to technical developers) could create and manage new forms on an “as needed” basis.

The most important FormAssembly features for AEI are the Salesforce prefill connector, matching rules for existing records (to cut down on duplicate constituent record generation), and the ability to integrate custom JavaScript on key forms.

“What I can say is that our Salesforce team is constantly asked for new FormAssembly forms, not just for RSVPs but also for travel and accommodations as well as post-event impact reports,” Meredith said. “They clearly save many hours [and] seamlessly integrate with Salesforce for better event/program/constituent management and analytics, and have replaced dozens of spreadsheets, docs, and emails.”

Use Cases

Event Management and RSVPs

Event Management and RSVPs

AEI uses FormAssembly heavily for event management and RSVP processes. This provides the flexibility to change forms based on whether the event is public (as is the case with forms posted to the main website) or private for scholars and internal staff.

These forms aren’t just requesting a “Yes” or “No” about attendance. For public and co-sponsored events, forms collect information about guest’s private travel accommodations and other on-site needs. AEI has been able to streamline workflows to reduce the amount of random or sporadic emails between the organization and event attendees. Additionally, the Prefill Connector allows attendees to change their responses, and these updates are immediately reflected in Salesforce, eliminating the manual updates from staff.

FormAssembly allows the events team to create practical forms without involving IT or undergoing advanced coding. Using FormAssembly has increased the level of internal buy-in, particularly through the use of flexible forms that use parameters from the Campaign Record in Salesforce to create new, branded forms on short notice.

Internal Data Import Forms

Internal Data Import Forms

AEI also manages several internal data input forms for donor management, gifts, and what is referred to as scholar “product.” AEI doesn’t sell a physical object or service; instead, they produce ideas. Those ideas are disseminated via books and reports, articles and blog posts, podcasts and videos, speeches and government testimony, etc. At AEI they track all of their scholar output in Salesforce under a custom object called “AEI Products”, that are then tagged by type (book, publication, video, testimony, etc.), by scholar, etc. and sometimes even by grant code. Those products are also linked to events and mailings to measure impact.

Meredith created a FormAssembly input form to make it easier for interns to enter items into Salesforce. FormAssembly’s dynamic picklist feature made this more efficient and improved data quality.


What’s Next?

The American Enterprise Institute uses Salesforce throughout the organization—for constituents, event and donation management, application forms, outreach organizations and clubs, product inventory, and much more.

Meredith reports that everyone on staff has been impressed by the way that FormAssembly can be customized to their particular workflows; it also saves time across the board. In the future, it’s anticipated that having an online form tool and data collection platform like FormAssembly will continue to be an asset.

“There are so many benefits to having Salesforce-connected forms that can meet 80-90% of business logic requirements. No other form tool meets those requirements,” Meredith said. “It would necessitate using vendors or keeping developers on staff.” 

For now, departments ask the CRM admin team for help with new online initiatives. FormAssembly is one of the key tools in the toolbox to support them. Confidence is high that staff members will continue to find new ways to use FormAssembly in order to improve efficiency and further the long-range goals of the institute.

Don’t just collect data

— leverage it.